Wyatt Employment Law Report

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House Committee Conducts Hearing on NLRB’s Proposed Changes to Election Rules

By Edwin S. Hopson

On March 5, 2014, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce conducted a hearing entitled, “Culture of Union Favoritism: The Return of the NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule.” During the hearing, chaired by Representative John Kline (R-MN), some members of the committee claimed that the recently proposed changes to union representation election rules by the National Labor Relations Board would undermine long-standing rights of workers, employers, and unions.

In opening remarks, Kline stated, in part: “For many of my colleagues, this hearing might evoke a sense of déjà vu. Not too long ago we debated a nearly identical ambush election rule proposed by the National Labor Relations Board that would stifle employers’ free speech and cripple workers’ free choice. In 2011 the House passed with bipartisan support a bill that would have protected the rights of workers, employers, and unions by reining in this radical proposal.”

The rule changes were first proposed in 2011, but were struck down by a federal judge on procedural grounds.  They were then revived last month.  According to Kline, the NLRB’s proposed rule changes would (1) significantly shorten the time between the filing of a union election petition and the actual election, (2) provide employers just 7 days to find legal counsel and prepare for a representation election hearing before the NLRB,  (3) force employers to raise all issues before the hearing or lose the right to raise those issues during the hearing; and (4) delay answers to important legal questions until after employees have voted. Additionally, Kline claimed that the proposed rule changes would jeopardize workers’ privacy by divulging sensitive information, such as email addresses, to union organizers. Continue reading

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NLRB Sets Dates For Hearing Comments on Proposed Changes to Union Election Rules

By Edwin S. Hopson

On February 26, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it will conduct a public meeting at its Washington, DC headquarters on April 10 and 11, 2014, in order for persons and organizations to express their views about recently proposed changes to the NLRB’s rules governing union representation election procedures. Additional days may be scheduled for April 8 and/or April 9, 2014, should the number of persons who wish to speak warrant it.

The proposed changes would speed up the election process, which is seen as an advantage for unions seeking to organize employers’ employees.

The changes the Board is proposing would:

■ allow for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;

■ ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;

■ streamline pre- and post-election procedures to facilitate agreement and eliminate unnecessary litigation;

■ include telephone numbers and email addresses in voter lists to enable parties to the election to be able to communicate with voters using modern technology; and

■ consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process.

These changes were previously implemented in late 2011, but the rule changes were invalidated by a Federal District Judge on the grounds they had not  been adopted by a validly constituted quorum of Board Members.  The NLRB’s appeal of that ruling was dismissed, pursuant to a joint stipulation, on December 9, 2013.

Persons wishing to speak are required to submit a Request to Speak, which must be received by no later than March 10, 2014, and must conform to the requirements set forth in the Notice of Meeting filed in the Federal Register. In addition, due to seating considerations, persons attending must submit a Request to Attend, that has to be received by the NLRB no later than March 31, 2014.